Category Archives: MISCELLANEOUS

The Best of 2016

Tomato, Pomegranate and Cucumber Salad with Pomegranate Molasses

I always enjoy and look forward to reading “the best of” posts written by my blogging friends, and yet I’ve never considered doing the same myself. This is probably due to my regular end-of-the-year blues and reluctance to analyse the past twelve months where I tend to see only the empty half of the glass… Anyway, this week I decided to break this bad habit (or rather lack of it) and share with you a small selection of the most thrilling culinary adventures and discoveries I have experienced this year. Happy New Year, my dear visitors!

Indian Coriander Chutney

Indian Coriander Chutney,
the most delicious thing I can imagine made with a bunch of coriander (and also the quickest weekday meal basis I know)

Eazy Lazy Eggless Chicken Katsu

Eazy Lazy Eggless Chicken Katsu
because I was so happy to discover an easier and lighter version of this fantastic Japanese dish

Light Yogurt Mousse with Passion Fruit

Light Yogurt Mousse with Passion Fruit,
one of the easiest & quickest & lightest desserts I can imagine

Aubergine with Nigella Seeds

Aubergine with Nigella Seeds ,
the only two-ingredient Indian dish I know (and it’s a delicious one of course!)

Egg Molee

Egg Molee ,
because I cherish every single new egg recipe, especially if it’s Indian

Tomato, Pomegranate and Cucumber Salad with Pomegranate Molasses

Tomato, Pomegranate and Cucumber Salad with Pomegranate Molasses
which triggered my numerous adventures with the amazing pomegranate

Grilled Razor Clams

Grilled Razor Clams
because I finally dared buying them and they proved so easy and delicious!

 

 

Homemade Savoury Edible Gifts

driedgFirst of all I would like to apologise to all my dear visitors for such a long silence (some have probably thought I’d stopped blogging…) due to long holidays. Just like every year, I had planned writing at least one post in advance and… just like every year, somehow it didn’t work…

Coming back from my holidays, I started to panic realising it’s time to think and start buying Christmas presents. I still haven’t decided on bigger ones, but I thought maybe this year, for the first time in my life, I might make and offer some edible gifts, at least as a small addition to the more “serious” stuff…

I know cookies, biscuits and jams are often offered, not only for Christmas, so I tried to list here some more unusual savoury edible gift ideas you might find inspiring (if you know my food preferences a bit, you will not be surprised by the abundance of chilli-based products….). All of these are easy to prepare, some can be made in almost no time at all, and all the ingredients are available in December, at least in Europe (fresh imported chilli is available all year round, I hope in the rest of the world too).

Made in less than 30 minutes

Quick Chilli and Garlic Oil with Sediments

Quick Chilli and Garlic Oil with Sediments

Peperoncini sott'olio (Fresh Chillies with garlic and Oil)

Peperoncini sott’olio (Fresh Chillies with garlic and Oil)

Furikake (Rice Seasoning) with Chilli and Prune

Furikake (Rice Seasoning) with Chilli and Prune

Dried Bonito and Sesame Rice Topping (Furikake)

Dried Bonito and Sesame Rice Topping (Furikake)

Requiring more time but equally easy (or even much much easier)

Dried Vegetable Stock Mix

Dried Vegetable Stock Mix

Dried Powdered Garlic

Dried Powdered Garlic

Raimu Koshou (Chilli and Lime Zest Paste)

Raimu Koshou (Chilli and Lime Zest Paste)

Dried Apples

Dried Apples

For those who are not afraid of preserving

Pineapple and Chilli Jelly

Pineapple and Chilli Jelly

Mango and Chilli Sauce

Mango and Chilli Sauce

Time-consuming and requiring more efforts but a rare treat for Thai food lovers…

Thai Chilli Jam (Nam Prik Pao)

Thai Chilli Jam (Nam Prik Pao)

Growing Garlic Leaves Indoors, or What to Do With Sprouting Garlic?

garlic_leaves_I bet some of you also keep on finding old, last year’s sprouting garlic heads. Once they sprout, the taste becomes harsh and when the next – mushy – stage arrives, most of us usually throw them away. This year, I decided to do exactly what I have been doing for years with sprouting onion bulbs and simply planted a garlic head indoors. In barely one week I obtained 20 cm (about 8 in) of delicious, strongly scented fake garlic chives and at the same time saved my garlic from the bin. I didn’t even need to use my balcony! The small amount of light (we’ve been having an awful spring this year) was enough to make these green leaves grow at an impressive speed!

Though I have been treating this away sprouting onions almost for the pas four years, I’ve never had the idea to experiment with garlic. I’m glad I did because it’s such a rewarding and funny experience! The garlic leaves have a stronger scent and taste than garlic chives, but they can be used in a similar way or as a substitution of garlic.

Here is a quick reminder of what can be obtained if you plant a sprouting onion bulb:

springonions

TIP: You will probably have to throw the soil away once the experiment is over because garlic’s root grow at a speed even higher than the leaves and quickly the fill the whole potted space.

If you have a garden, obviously you don’t need to pot the garlic bulb!

I haven’t tried growing leaves from single garlic cloves yet. If you do, please let me know if it works.

Directions:

Take a garlic head with sprouting cloves (don’t worry if some of them don’t sprout; they will sprout once they are potted) and plant it, covering about 2/3 of its height, in a pot filled with soil.

Place it in any room you prefer, as long as there is some light during the day.

Water it every day or every other day (depends on the soil and air dryness), keeping the soil moist and wait patiently until the garlic leaves/spring onions appear.

(I haven’t checked yet if a second generation of leaves would keep on growing…I’ll update this post if it does).

 

 

 

 

Last-Minute New Year’s Eve Treats

Christmas is over, but I still have several days of lazy home holidays. I keep on reading for hours in bed, sipping wine and eating the remains of my – as always excessive – food stock. I don’t feel particularly keen on cooking anything new or complicated, especially since I don’t organise any party this year. Nonetheless, for the last night of 2014 I’ll certainly find the courage to prepare several festive treats, as long as they are quick, easy and don’t require much shopping (or, ideally, can be prepared with pantry and/or fridge contents). I suppose some of you feel the same, so I thought I’d share with you a choice of last-minute New Year’s Eve savoury and sweet dishes, which are effortless and quick, but still have a festive touch. Happy New Year, my dear visitors! May all your dreams come true in 2015!

You can start with these buttery cute tidbits:

Last Minute Crackers

Last Minute Crackers

and carry on with these aromatic olives:

Seasoned Olives

Seasoned Olives

Add vibrant colours to your table with this sunny-looking salad:

Mango, Chicken and Cucumber Salad

Mango, Chicken and Cucumber Salad

If you have already made maki sushi, you know how easy and quick they are.

Maki with Shrimp, Avocado and Cucumber

Maki with Shrimp, Avocado and Cucumber

Maki sushi with Canned Tuna and Cucumber

Maki sushi with Canned Tuna and Cucumber

These “baskets” are perfect containers for Guacamole or Shrimp Salad:

Wonton Cups (Edible Snack Containers)

Wonton Cups (Edible Snack Containers)

Home-made taramosalata doesn’t even compare to the supermarket-bought one…

Taramosalata (Fish Roe Dip)

Taramosalata (Fish Roe Dip)

If you have never had smoked mackerel, this spread is a good occasion to try it:

Smoked Mackerel and Egg Spread

Smoked Mackerel and Egg Spread

Savoury cakes are easy, foolproof and, served cold, they feed crowds for hours:

Savoury Cake with Goat Cheese and Dried Tomatoes

Savoury Cake with Goat Cheese and Dried Tomatoes

Surprise your guests with these fabulous tofu snacks:

Tofu and Bacon Snacks

Tofu and Bacon Snacks

The quickest and easiest chocolate mousse ever (delicious even without raspberries):

Quick Eggless Chocolate Mousse

Quick Eggless Chocolate Mousse

I will never thank enough Katerina (from Culinary Flavours) for this fantastic, incredibly easy chocolate treat I never tire of:

Unbaked Chocolate Cake

Unbaked Chocolate Cake

Easiest and most addictive chocolate treat I know (accidentally, it’s quite healthy too…):

Prunes in Chocolate

Prunes in Chocolate

and, last but not least, something cute for coconut lovers:

Bounty (Coconut, Chocolate and Rum) Truffles

Bounty (Coconut, Chocolate and Rum) Truffles

 

Easter Party Ideas

wontoncupspj

Wonton Cups, or Edible Snack Containers

Zsuzsa, my blogging friend from Zsuzsa is in the Kitchen, has recently invited me to join her and other bloggers (Eva from Takarékos Konyha, Elisabeth from Food and Thrift and Eva from Kitchen Inspirations) and, just like them, post my Easter menu suggestions. I was honoured, but at first I panicked because apart from a Chicken Terrine (see below) I don’t really have traditional Easter dishes on my blog. Both Zsuzsa and Elisabeth have convinced me to present whatever I might serve for such an occasion, even if it is not traditional in any country or region of the world. Thank you, ladies, for your advice! Thus, I have chosen some festive dishes I love, regardless their origins or relation to Easter celebrations. Thank you so much, Zsuzsa, for your kind invitation. I hope my eclectic choice, far from Easter traditions will not disappoint you.

Here is a list of dishes I would take into consideration if I had guests for Easter (of course I wouldn’t serve all of them!). All of them can be served at a buffet-style party, my recent favourite way to entertain. Such a concept usually means more work beforehand because, contrary to traditional meals, one cannot serve just three dishes, but this way I offer a bigger choice to the guests, who are not forced to eat all they are served, but most of all such a party has a more relaxed atmosphere. Apart from one exception, I have chosen easy recipes, which either can be prepared very quickly or made in advance. They have both Western and Asian origins, so I hope you will find here some useful ideas, not necessarily for Easter.

First of all, I would never skip the obligatory Wonton Cups, or Edible Snack Containers (see the photo above). Versatile, cute and easy, these edible containers are nowadays a staple not only when I have guests (thank you, Juliana!).

lastmcrackersp

Last-minute Crackers can be prepared really just before the guests arrive as long as you have some puff pastry in the fridge. These star-shaped crackers were prepared for Christmas, but you can give them any shape you wish, such as bunnies…

olives2pp

These olives are so easy to prepare you will never consider buying them seasoned by someone else again.

mackerspreadp

This Smoked Mackerel and Egg Spread can be prepared with any smoked fish of your choice, of course.

taramosalatapj

Recently discovered Taramosalata (Fish Roe Spread) is one more thing I will never ever even think of buying. Home-made version is incomparably better.

patepp

Light Chicken Terrine with Nutmeg is actually the only dish I used to have as a child for Easter and other festive occasions.

goatcakepp

Savoury Cake with Goat Cheese and Dried Tomatoes (aka Goat Cheese and Dried Tomatoes Bread) is a wonderful alternative to canapés.

cakejamp

Cake with Ham and Olives, another canapés substitution, is a real crowd-pleaser.

makishrimpp

If you feel like serving Japanese food (why not?), try preparing Maki Sushi with Shrimp, Avocado and Cucumber. They will not necessarily look as perfect as in your sushi shop, but they are really easy to prepare.

roastrollspp

Spring Rolls with Leftover Roast and Carrots, an Asian sandwich alternative, can also be prepared with the remains of your roast, after the Easter holidays.

chickensesamep

Sesame-Coated Chicken Nuggets (Tori no goma age) can be made in advance and will please all the sesame fans.

chickenleekp

Japanese Chicken and Leek Skewers (Negima) are brushed with teriyaki glaze and usually please every guest.

asparagusporkpp

Asparagus Teriyaki Pork Rolls are incredibly easy to prepare and are one of my favourite ways to serve asparagus.

chterrinespeculoospj

Unbaked chocolate Cake with Biscuits (Chocolate Terrine with Speculoos) is a rich creamy dessert which doesn’t require baking and is incredibly simple to prepare.

bountytrufflespj

Coconut, Chocolate and Rum Truffles (Bounty Truffles). Who doesn’t like chocolate truffles?

matchatruffles3p

Matcha and White Chocolate Truffles are the only ones which might be tricky to prepare, but they are green, fresh, festive and have this amazing slightly bitter matcha flavour…

prunechdp

Chocolate and prunes are all you need to prepare these luscious Prunes in Chocolate, a quicker and easier alternative to chocolate truffles.

kiwic4p

This Kiwi and Rum Cocktail seemed perfect for a spring party.

I strongly encourage you to check the wonderful Easter menu suggestions proposed by my blogging friends and would like to wish you all a very happy Easter and wonderful holidays to those who don’t celebrate it!